Ex-MLA neglected pilgrimage centres in Samba

Ex-MLAs’ Report Card –  Constituency: Samba Dr D K Manyal (BJP)

Avtar Bhat
PURMANDAL: Being an essential part of rice bowl of Jammu, Samba is a segment of Jammu Poonch Lok Sabha constituency. The constituency is surrounded by Vijaypur Assembly segment in North, Hiranagar in South, Billawar and Udhampur in East while on its West lies International Border (IB) touching Pakistan.
Partly fertile and partly Kandi like other constituencies of Jammu and Kathua districts people in this Assembly segment also have many problems and issues to be solved which evaded the eye of public representatives as well as Government for years together.
The Constituency in 1996 was represented by Som Nath of BSP while for two consecutive terms from 2002 to 2014 it was held by Yashpaul Kundal of Panthers Party and from 2014 to 2018 BJP’s Dr D K Manyal represented it in the State Assembly.
The greatest official apathy which this Assembly segment faced is that successive Governments failed to pay due attention to the development of greatest twin pilgrimage centers of Purmandal and Utterbehni which are the part of Assembly constituency.
These two pilgrimage centers have great relevance in Hindu scriptures right from Puranic period the people used to come there and pay their obeisance to the Gods, besides performing the religious rituals of departed souls as well as last rites of the dead.
But both of these pilgrimage centers faced constant neglect over the years as no Government took keen interest in their development and upkeep.
The people of twin religious centers rue successive Government’s and public representatives apathy towards them saying had the Government taken a keen interest in development of these two religious places they would have been on the national map of pilgrimage centers like Haridwar, Priyag Raj and Varanasi.
This would have led to the influx of huge pilgrims to these two religious places every year which would have led to generation of trade and economic upliftment of the people in surrounding areas, besides generating the income for Government.
“As previous representatives neglected the area and the present one who had shown the concern did not get the ample time to take up the issue of the two pilgrimage centers with Government forcefully with the result the problems continued as they are”, said Ram Kumar of Purmandal area.
People give the public representative due credit for constructing a two lane grand road from Jammu to Utterbehni and onwards that has eased the problem of pilgrims as well as locals which they were facing otherwise. Earlier the distance from Purmandal to Jammu was covered in two hours but after the renovation of road and making it double lane it takes 30 minutes to reach Jammu said, Rashpaul Singh of Purmandal area.
However, some people are even not satisfied with the construction of new road by raising its level. They accused the Government of putting them to problems as their houses were lower to road level and failure of constructing a drain on both sides of road has added to woes of the people residing along the road as entire water enters their houses in rainy season.
This is common complaint of the people living on the road side. Khajoor Singh, a resident of Katwalta said that water overflows the road and enters the residential houses as well as shops. Sometimes our goods get perished, he added.
Basant Raj, another resident said that they (authorities) raised the road but failed to construct the drain for diverting the catchment water and rain water which has also eroded the agriculture land at various places as no retaining wall was constructed along the road.
Even people complained that they face transport problem as no proper facilities are available and mostly buses remain overloaded which also have no timing. Neelam Sharma of Mohalla Mandla in Purmandal area said this problem was never attended by the authorities and MLA also failed to pay heed to it.
In Purmanadal people complained that there are no proper facilities in the Hospital which has shortage of the doctors. The hospital building is being constructed with the efforts of MLA but there are no facilities, said Garu Ram of Purmandal. Earlier there was Ultrasound facility in the Hospital but now it is not available. In case of delivery the patient is referred to GMC then what is the fun of having Hospital at Purmandal, he questioned.
Even in case of a snake bite the patient is referred to Jammu and some times he dies on way to hospital, he added. Moreover, no proper attention was paid for development of Devika which is called the Gupt Ganga (silent Ganga) as per Puranas. During rain it is difficult to visit to main Shiv temple of Purmandal which is on other side of Devika. A bridge was constructed without giving mind to construct a road link to reach the temple. This way a huge money was wasted by constructing the bridge and no body was held accountable for the same, he added.
During rainy season pilgrims have to wait for hours together to cross Devika when water level recedes. The Purmandal market is stinking and heaps of garbage lying scattered every where. The people even complained problem of drinking water and power cuts as well as lack of transport facilities. Even no CCTV cameras have been installed though it is a pilgrimage centre and there can be any security risk especially during the time of mela.
In Deon, Samba people said no worth mentioning work was done in the area during last three years. Girdhari Lal, Panch Gurgani Panchayat said Pacholi area faces problem of electricity and there are no street lights. The electricity is supplied through two single lines and local pond in the area is in bad condition. There is no passenger shed, he added.
Despite the repeated pleas link road to Surinsar was not developed while one and half km link road to Mansar was not constructed from this area.
Ashtosh of Ward 3 in Deon which also falls in Kandi belt said that they face problems of water scarcity, road connectivity as well as power. What is shameful to note and that belittles the claims of successive Governments as well as the present one in Deon people after the seven decades of independence drink pond water.
He said the birth place of Devika, Indreshwar which lies in the same area and where besides, some caves an old temple exists lacks road connectivity due to which pilgrims are unable to visit there.
In Deon, High School was announced but there is shortage of teachers while there is no staff in ZEO Purmandal. The powers of ZEO were snatched and given to Principal of Higher Secondary School with the result people face problems,
People, while showing concern over transport problem in the entire area said that two buses should ply from Samba to Panjtirthi, Jammu via Utterbehni, Purmandal, Kanachadkal, Bajalta, Sidhra and then to Panjtirthi and two should ply in opposite directions. Moreover, there is no proper connectivity to District Headquarter Samba, they added.
There are no dustbins, no proper foot path in Purmandal as well as bath rooms which were constructed have not been renovated till date.
Sandeep Kumar of Utterbheni near Gujar Mohalla said Sadral village faces water scarcity and there is no road link to Sadral. Work on road from Utterbehni to Lovely has been abandoned, he added.
The work on construction of bridge on Devika in Utterbeni is going on in full swing and Grid Station in Utterbehni is also under construction.
However, the people in entire Samba district did not show their dissatisfaction with the performance of ex MLA. Jang Bahadur of Samba said 550 houses were constructed under PMAY in the rural belt of the constituency by the ex MLA and Rs 100 crore were spent on PMGSY and CRF roads. Some have been constructed while work on others is going on, he added.
He said Purmandal road and Rs 12 crore Utterbehni bridge is under construction. Besides, work on Rs 30 crore Samba -Goaran road is going on. The work on Rs 11 crore Goran to Soran road is also going on. In addition Rs 3.25 crore Nad to Kaloha road is under construction. Building of Samba College was upgraded and Rs 7.5 crore building project for Samba Hospital was got sanctioned. Moreover, in Samba Hospital X-Ray machines and CT Scan machine were also installed.
He said 40 kilomtere area of Samba district roads were blacktopped and corruption in Rural Development Department which was rampant earlier has been contained.
The residents of Supwal also acknowledged the working of former MLA and said that the power crisis which they were facing earlier were over come after his efforts as he got installed five mva transformers at Talot and Sathy Nud Receiving Stations due to which the load sharing was proper. The foundation of these two receiving stations was laid in 2004 but transformers were not installed till 2014, he added.
Moreover roads, lanes and drains were constructed. In Chak Ramchand the lanes and drains were made pacca, he added.
Balwinder Singh of Goran said that the road from Samba to Goran which was in shambles is being renovated now as ex MLA took personnel interest in the same. Even the low voltage problem in the area has been solved. Ten MVA transformer was installed at Receiving Station to make power supply better, he added.
However, he said that no steps were taken to declare some areas of kandi belt of Sumb as backward like Sumotha, Kanair etc. He said entire Sumb block is Kandi and all villages falling in it deserves to be declared backward.
He said the people face water scarcity problems in Summer and dug wells remain dry so the area needs bore wells which the authorities fail to construct and MLA too could not take up this issue.
Moreover, out of eight Panchayats six Panchayats of Sumb block are hilly and most of them lack road connectivity to which no attention has been paid. The villages of Sanoor, Masroor, Beli, Dhaban and Kanair need road connectivity and no effective steps are being taken in this regard, he added.
However, two higher secondary schools were given in Goaran and Kanair in last year, he added.
When contacted ex MLA Manyal said Samba -Mansar road has been constructed at Rs 21 crore, while Rs 36 crore were spent on Samba , Sumb -Goran -Babeti road and work on the same is in progress.
He said widening of Samba border road was done and Utterbehni -Purmandal road was constructed at an estimated cost of 18 crore. Work on Utterbehni bridge to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 12 crore is in progress. In addition to it 10 PMGSY roads were constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 70 crore. Work on one Receiving Station in Utterbehni is in progress.
He said transformers were upgraded and system of power supply has improved in the constituency to a great extent and the power supply almost if 24×7. He said besides schools were upgraded, degree college was given to Purmandal, while lot of work was also done in health sector including identification of land for ANMT School, three new projects in PHE and sanctioning of Rs four core for Indoor Stadium and upgradation of Degree College Samba.